Tag Archives: reform

Is Greece losing its reform drive?

Mr. Hugo Dixon is Editor-at-Large, Reuters News. The opinions expressed are his own. This article has also been published in kathimerini.gr

Is Greece losing its reform drive? Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has stuck to a harsh fitness program for two years. But just as it is bearing fruit, he has sidelined some reformers in a reshuffle. There is only one viable path to redemption for Athens: stick to the straight and narrow.

The Greek economy is not out of the woods yet, although the measures taken to balance public finances and restore the country’s competitiveness are having their effect.

Athens partly regained access to the bond markets in April. Banks have been able to issue equity on the markets. The unemployment rate has fallen for four months in a row, albeit to a still terrible 27 percent. The economy has also either just stopped shrinking or will do soon.

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THE GREEK ECONOMY AND THE GREEK UNIVERSITIES

Without effective higher education that includes significant R&D, it is very difficult for Greece to achieve economic development and social progress at rates that will accelerate her convergence with the other European Union partners.

The picture at Greek universities is very disappointing. Universities in Greece do not have the necessary autonomy. They hardly conduct any R%D. They have no continuous “dialogue” between universities and society. The universities produce graduates without the education / training required to work for the country’s progress. Graduates are not absorbed by the labor market while the country is losing ground in both educational level and competitiveness, holding down its growth rates and undermining convergence with the other EU countries. The universities should continuously search for the trends and requirements in society and economic life with a view to their graduates’ integration.

Progress and development should not only be measured by whether Greece has, for instance, more roads or cars than in the 1970’s, but also by its present situation in relation to other countries. Greece’s position on this comparison is not at all flattering, but what is worse is the inability of the system to adapt and keep abreast with present requirements.

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The Chief Executive Officer

Alexis Papachelas is a guest editorial writer to The Business Thinker. He is currently the Executive Editor of the long standing and highly respected daily Greek newspaper “Kathimerini”.

You will have noticed that these days (many) big companies have a chairman and a chief executive officer. The chairman is not involved with the day-to-day running of the business; he is responsible for its strategy and image, and he keeps an eye on its administration from a distance. The CEO is involved with the “dirty work;” he knows all the facts and figures, is in constant contact with all the company’s executives and sets measurable targets for all of them. I feel that if Greece were a company, we could say that it has a good chairman but is lacking a capable CEO.

It is evident that our chairman, Prime Minister George Papandreou, does not get excited by issues pertaining to management, with following through on a project etc. On the contrary, his strength is his relationship with people abroad, negotiating major issues and setting targets. He is the most exportable prime minister this country has had for many years and no one can deny the fact that he has a modern agenda for reform. Continue reading The Chief Executive Officer